Imports of some of the dirtiest, lowest grade coal have rocketed in each of the last four years.
Most of it comes from Indonesia and last year, and for only the second time in 20 years, New Zealand imported over a million tonnes.
The coal was needed to burn for electricity as hydro and gas levels have been low in recent years.
Anti-coal activist Cindy Baxter from Coal Action Network told reporter Jordan Bond burning coal actually benefits the electricity companies.
The Energy and Resources Minister, Megan Woods, declined to come on the programme this morning, but said in a statement:
“Unfortunately fossil fuels continue to play a prominent role in the security of electricity supply due to the structure of New Zealand’s electricity system, especially in providing cover for dry hydrological years, such as we have been experiencing.
“This Government has not been satisfied with this reliance on fossil fuels and last year we backed up our goal to have a fully renewable electricity grid with a $30 million investigation into solving the dry year problem.”